GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina used a 10-0 run in the second half to surge past North Texas, 56-49, for the Pirates’ 26th-straight home win at Williams Arena inside Minges Coliseum. With the victory, ECU improves to 21-3 overall and 9-2 in Conference USA action, while North Texas falls to 10-14 on the year and 4-7 league play.
“I’m just really proud of this team,” Head Coach Heather Macy said. “I think we did a good job of finding second and third chance opportunities at the end of the game. Jada [Payne] and Abria [Trice] both went to the line and made some crucial free throws. Janesha Ebron has also done that a ton. It was truly a team win.”
Redshirt junior post Ondrea Shaw led the Pirates with a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with a game-best five blocks, three points and two steals. Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Payne tallied her 13th 20-point performance and her 23rd double-figure effort of the year with 24 points while adding seven boards and one assist. Redshirt junior guard Abria Trice registered her 20th double-figure game of the season as she poured in 17 points. Trice also contributed seven rebounds and one assist. Junior guard Janesha Ebron led ECU with a game-high four assists in the victory.
The contest was a defensive affair as the Pirates shot 32.1-percent from the field, 23.8-percent from beyond the arc and 88.2-percent from the free throw line. North Texas’ offense was also hampered by the ECU defense as the Mean Green shot 31.5-percent from the floor, 18.2-percent from three-point range and 76.5-percent from the charity stripe. East Carolina out-rebounded North Texas, 44-35, and the Pirates also held the edge on assists, 9-5, and blocks, 5-0. However, North Texas collected 12 steals to ECU’s 10.
East Carolina managed to get on the scoreboard first in the defensively charged game that did not see a field goal until the 17:19 mark when Trice nailed a three-pointer to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead. The ECU defense held North Texas scoreless for the first five-and-a-half minutes of the contest as the Mean Green did not register their first points of the contest until Desiree Nelson hit a layup at 14:32 to make it a 3-2 game.
North Texas led by as many as five points (25-20) in the opening 20 minutes of the game, but both teams suffered cold shooting as the Mean Green shot 33.3-percent and ECU shot 25-percent. The offensive struggle marked the Pirates’ lowest scoring output of the season in the first half with just 22 points in the frame as North Texas owned a 25-22 lead at halftime.
The Pirates fought back in the second half and managed to turn a five-point deficit (32-37) into a five-point lead (42-37) after going on a 10-0 run. Despite North Texas’ effort, the Mean Green were unable to pull within more than three points of the Pirates as the ECU defense kept the visitors at bay. East Carolina extended its lead to as many as seven points on three separate occasions and went on to win the game by a score of 56-49.
The Mean Green were led offensively by Alexis Hyder’s 18 points. Hyder was North Texas’ only double-figure scorer in the game. She also led the squad with eight rebounds, while adding two steals and one assist.
East Carolina will travel to the Lone Star state for a Thursday, February 20, match-up at UTSA at 8 p.m. ET. The Pirates and the Roadrunners will meet for the first time in program history.